Photo Stream Is Nice, but Awfully Slow at Times

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Photo Stream on iPad

Photo Stream is a nice little iCloud feature. It’s lovely to have photos you take on an iPhone stream automatically to your iPad, and vice-versa.

What’s not so clever about Photo Stream, at least in my recent experience, is that it can be awfully slow at times. This morning for instance, I took a set of photos of the new iPad Smart Case with my iPhone 4S – about a dozen in total. And I wanted to run them through my favorite photo editing/effects app on the iPad, Photo Toaster.

Photo Stream was taking its sweet time with getting the images to the iPad though – upwards of 15 minutes. That’s just not impressive, given that the iPad and the iPhone are on the same home WiFi network with great connectivity and sitting less than five feet from each other. In the end, it was much faster to get to the photos by using the excellent Photo Transfer App. Dropbox would also have likely provide faster access.

I still find Photo Stream useful, but if you’re looking to do things quickly with photos it’s not always the best solution – at least from what I’m seeing lately.

What do you all think? Do you have speedier results with Photo Stream?


Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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4 thoughts on “Photo Stream Is Nice, but Awfully Slow at Times”

  1. Everything you said is why I do not use it. But also, since the upgrade to iOS5, I no longer have a ‘video only’ tab to see videos shot with my iPad in Camera Roll.

  2. You were lucky it only took 15 minutes! I’ve had it work almost immediately and on other occasions not at all. Maybe it’s not as effective in the UK but I’ve found Photostream such a hit and miss affair that I’ve switched it off altogether and use the app ‘Photosync’ instead to transfer pictures from my iPhone to my iPad or MacBook. I back up my iPad and iPhone to iTunes on my laptop as well as I can no longer trust iCloud.

  3. I have had the same experience and its annoying for sure and I hope they improve this very useful feature. I guess we ask a lot and expect a lot these days but hey…. It’s there idea so make it work !!!

  4. It certainly can be slow, and it strangely acquires a mind of its own, and change speeds almost willy nilly. However, it seems to me that anything that uses streaming is apt to the same. What irks me most with photo stream is that it only works with pictures taken, ignoring anything saved or downloaded from the web or a wallpaper app. Due to the inherent limitations, I have been exclusively using Skydrive for my photo syncing purposes.

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